Monthly Archives: June 2021

Do What You Love, or What You Must?

One of the greatest speakers, Les Brown, said something to the effect: keep working at what you love.

How many of us do that?

Life gets in the way of dreams. We need a job to earn our keep, support our family; and that particular job doesn’t always align with what we truly love to do. We take the job and enter a mind-numbing daily routine. Live for the weekend. For vacations. For retirement.

We spend our time wishing our life away, so we can retire.

What about the dream?

Les Brown also said that our dream in its unique form was given to us, not anyone else. Sure, many people love to paint, dance, write. But no one else in this world has that exact unique mind-set that makes our dreams and goals ours alone to bring to life.

Les Brown quotes about motivation in life

I love to write.

My dream would be to write often, or as often as possible. But dream and reality don’t always coexist.

Still, I’m stubborned. I try carving out time for writing every day. If not actual writing, at least something related, such as editing, or reading, or learning something new about writing in all its forms.

We need to set side time for our dream, or what’s the point?

Taking care of family is one of the points. We do that everyday. We meet out obligations.

But if we don’t carve out time for our dream, something inside us dies every day. Day after day.

One day, we’ll wake up and wonder what happened. Here we are opening our eyes to a new day, able to take in oxygen, move about, talk. Yet, we feel dead inside. Because we let a part of us go. Or maybe the process is gradual. Each day we die inside a little more.

Don’t let go of your dream, dear friend.

Whatever it is.

Say it with me, a constant reminder.

I won’t let go of my dream.

We have to program ourselves, or life will program us.

After a longer than usual time of stagnation, I am reclaiming my dream by releasing a book a five short stories. A quick read. It can be read in one evening, or set aside for bits of enjoyment (I hope) over several evenings. It’s titled START AGAIN. Cover reveal and more behind each story coming up next week.

I won’t let go of my dream.

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  • Photo courtesy: Unsplash, Etty Fidele, Everydaypowerblog

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Nothing Greater than Peace of Mind

There is more talk about mental fitness today than ever before.  

In some circles the phenomena is called the Harry Effect, from Prince Harry who openly discussed his mental fitness in The Me You Can’t See.

In the sports world it’s the Naomi Effect, from Naomi Osaka, the tennis player who famously walked out of the French Open when asked to speak with reporters; and just said she won’t play the British Open either in order to protect her mental health.

Peace of Mind is a Luxury Money Can’t Buy.

I say bravo for taking care of their mental health before our cruel world destroys it. And for bringing attention to the issue.

We’ve grown up being told: toughen up, suck it up, stop whining. Little kids trying to navigate emotional distress being told to stop complaining.

Why?

The number one recommendation for improving mental health is to talk.

Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health. Source

Other ways to cope are: reading and writing.

Writing (and by extension reading) is medicine for your mind. Whenever you feel mentally and emotionally exhausted, writing brings peace to your mind. Source

Talking, reading and writing. All things we do right here, dear friends.

There is no way to segue into my next point after the above, and I would not want to. So, here it is.

Quick announcement:

Dear friend, I am in the process of publishing a short-story collection, titled START AGAIN. Five of my short stories previously published in online literary magazines.

Should you wish to join my e-mail list for pre-publication gifts of START AGAIN, and other announcements, please do so below. Cover reveal should be coming up soon.

Thank you for talking, reading and writing with me.

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Images: http://Unsplash@Sasha Freemind, Google Images

What Do You See in Your Mind’s Eye?

landscape photography of shack near leafless tree

Sudden memories that pop up in our minds, triggering all sorts of feelings – how weird is that?

I was shopping at a home improvement store the other day, and while crossing the lumber section a memory triggered by the smell of lumber popped up, one tied to a distinct smell from childhood.

Took me to my grandparents’ house, where there was a shed filled with freshly cut wood.

I stood there like a dummy, in the home improvement store, transfixed by this forty-year old image developing in my mind’s eye, one so real I could almost touch. I haven’t thought of my grandparents in ages, but suddenly I felt a renewed sense of loss.

Science tells us some people have a vivid mind’s eyes, while others have none at all. This variation in human experience for the former is called hyperphantasia – an overactive mind’s eye.

The opposite is aphantasia – the inability to voluntarily create mental images.

So, What Do You See?

Let’s say we recall a vacation at the beach. I would see every detail of that story in my mind’s eye. The blue water glistening under the sun, clumps of seaweed getting washed up on the beach, white sand contrasting with the azure-blue water.

What would you see?

I ask because we assume many experiences are common. The notion of I know how you feel, I’ve been there too, might be misleading. Shared experiences bring people together only if they’re shared.

As a writer, I find this fascinating.

So, I looked up: what is reading like for people with aphantasia (inability to voluntarily create mental images).

Apparently reading is different from voluntarily pulling up mental images. Reading can create those vivid images.

One person with aphantasia said: I have trouble pulling up images in my head of my own accord. The images have no hard lines, dull color, and I can only very vaguely render small portions of a scene at a time. But when I read everything is crystal clear, and in fact MORE vivid than in real life.

How great is that? Reading can make words disappear and not only replace them with images but with MORE VIVID images than in real life for people who otherwise can not conjure up mental pictures on their own.

On The High Seas, Horizon, Mediterranean, Buoys

Photos credit: unsplash, pixabay

Simplicity

Canna, Flower, Orchid, Yellow, Nature, Petal, Plant

Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. It’s un-complicating what’s complicated.

For my purpose, simplicity is art.

It’s about a spartan house with less furniture. Making life easier. It’s about redoing my space to declutter my mind. About being able to take a deep breath in my own house. Hear myself think.

Simplicity.

I remember one time, flying to Chicago. Upon descent, the pilot announced there was a high precipitation supercell, a severe sky condition phenomena with clear and detrimental impact on visibility.

Oookay. Why not say it was raining? Pouring rain, maybe. There is aviation protocol, but why not be clear?

Simple things are far from easy. For everyone, but particularly for creatives. Arriving at simplicity via sophistication without appearing to put on airs is complicated. It’s about starting over until we have a story or a song appear simple when the reality is different.

It’s about what’s going on behind the scene. The process does not matter to the audience. The pilot, for example, let us see behind the aviation scene. Airline passengers don’t care. We want to arrive safely and know if it’s raining at our destination.

Simplicity, not simplification, is about delivery. Imagine if your lawyer tells you: affix your legal designation heretofore, when he could say: sign here.

If simplicity is important for lawyers and pilots, it’s vital in the creative world.

How many complicated songs do you know? Maybe one. Maybe none.

I used to think Don McLean’s American Pie was a complex piece of music. But it’s not. The reason I can sing it right now is because the chorus is beautifully simple. It’s a folk story, the most memorable part about rock & roll and the day the music died.

Even art that appears complicated is at its core simple.  

Tree, Minimal, Nature, Minimalism, Natural, Green

Over the years, since my first short story found a home, I’ve worked with various editors. My favorite editors made me better not only for their story’s sake, but in general. They impressed upon me a simple fact: eliminate the superfluous, even if cutting through prose that sings to you.

That is a mix of skill and maturity. A sign of growing up as a creative.

But why shouldN’T I write for myself?

We’re our first audience, right? It makes sense to keep complex prose we might enjoy.

Sure, that’s how it starts. And if the ultimate goal is to be the sole audience, then keep it complex. If the goal is sharing a story then see it big and keep it simple, to quote Wilfred Peterson.

I wrote about the mind of a child reader in Start Again. The summer when I fell in love with writing. What I remember most is how easy the story was to grasp, even if the subject matter – fundamental change during the French Revolution – boggled the mind.

Why? Because the story was written with candor and clarity. Big emotions written in simple ways. The writer never pulled the curtain to offer a glimpse at what was going on behind the scene. The process remained hidden, allowing the story to flow on the page.

However complicated for the creative, for the audience it was simple.